Best of Back to School Books: YA Edition

It’s the middle of August and even though we have just wrapped up a successful Summer Reading Program, DeWitt District Library is turning it’s attention to fall! The Back to School season is upon us which means it won’t be long until the air turns crisp and the pumpkin spice lattes will flow.

Back to school can bring on a variety of emotions–giddiness for new classes, anxiety about doing well, or interest in trying to navigate a new social scene. YA novels tend to draw inspiration from real life and reading can help us know that we aren’t alone in our feelings. So here are our picks for 6 great back to school YA books to help you gear up for the upcoming school year.

Pick up one of these reads at the library today! Books are available in print or digital copy.

sleepingfreshmenneverlieSleeping freshmen never lie by David Lubar 

Scott is just your average freshman trying to navigate his honors classes, write a sports column for the school newspaper, and attract the attention of his new crush Julia. On top of all of that, his mother has just announced that she is pregnant. So, in order to help cope with everything he is going through, he decides to write a survival guide for his newly expected sibling in hope that they will have an easier go at high school life.  A laugh-out loud back to school read!


eleanorandparkEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Bring on the 80’s nostalgia in this sweet, relatable romance between two very awkward teens. Eleanor and Park share a love of music and each other in this story about first love and the fight to hold onto it.  While as smart, edgy, and un-put-downable as this book is, you will find yourself smiling and nodding along with their struggles and triumphs. A great book to read while riding the bus to school!


Genius I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be your Class President by Josh Lieb 

Don’t let the main character’s age of 12 fool you. This kid is ready for the big leagues.  Oliver Watson is an overweight evil genius who puts his plans for world domination aside so that he can successfully run for class president.  Shenanigans ensue while Oliver tries to win not only the election but also his father’s approval.  With classic science fiction and fantasy touches, readers will love Lieb’s voice and sense of humor in this unusual story.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkinshexhallcover

Welcome to Hex Hall, the reform school for all Prodigium (witches, vampires, ghosts, faires, and shapeshifters). Sophie Mercer, a 15 year old witch, has just arrived due to a botched prom nigh spell and her father’s insistence that she get her powers under control. Along the way we meet an unique and unforgettable cast of characters who try to navigate school life as well as solve the mystery of who is killing the students of Hex hall and why is that person especially after Sophie?

tellmethreethingsTell me three things by Julie Buxbaum 

Starting a new school can be intimidating, especially when that new school is a pretentious prep school in LA where you know absolutely no one. Such is the case for Jessie. It’s been two years since her mother died and her father has remarried and moved their family across the country to start again. Jessie is trying so hard to navigate this new life when she starts receiving emails for someone named Somebody/Nobody or SN for short, offering her advice and help along the way.  Desperate, Jessie accepts, but is it for the best?

separatecoverA Separate Peace by John Knowles

A classic! This book is on many high school required reading lists for a reason. Set right before World War II, Gene and Phineas couldn’t be more opposite, yet find themselves sharing a room at their prep school in New England.  During the summer they spent together, they will discover the end to their adolescence and help readers to understand that the friendships we make can define and change us.


End of the Summer Teen Party!

Last Thursday DeWitt District Library hosted our End of the Summer Teen Party! Our teens who have participated in the summer programs as well as our awesome volunteens turned out to spend the afternoon playing board games, eating pizza, and hanging out. We also had a variety of Minute to Win it games where teens could race against each other and the clock to complete a variety of tasks.

20620820_10159201656520201_1500730788491593901_nThe beautiful summer weather allowed us to spend some time outside as well chalking the sidewalk, face painting, and playing Giant Jenga.

We listened to music and some teens showcased different talents and skills.  There was quite the buzz surrounding our stacking cups!


It was really just all about having fun, celebrating the summer, and enjoying some time together at the library.  We look forward to seeing our teens back in the fall for some fun school year programs!


Our teens enjoyed taking pictures in the photo booth using props they created! 

Pizza and free movie passes, anyone?

unclesam-we-want-you-1Have you ever thought about what you want from the library? Maybe there’s a new book you’d love to read but can’t get your hands on just yet. Maybe you could use some study space or tutoring help during the school year. Maybe you’re seriously into gaming and need a fix. Maybe you want to learn a new craft or skill and need some help getting started. Maybe you just need a place to hang out after school. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

Stop by the Annex this Thursday, January 19th from 3:30-5:00 pm to enjoy some pizza and let us know. You’ll also have a chance to enter a drawing for a couple of complimentary movie passes from NCG.

If you’re busy and can’t make it, no problem. Just visit this link to complete a brief survey by Wednesday, January 25th and you’ll still have a chance to enter the drawing.

Hope to see you there!

An Afternoon of Anime



Good news! With the library’s reopening, Teen Time will finally kick off Thursday, November 3rd with an Afternoon of Anime, running from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. We’ll have several Miyazaki films to choose from as well as supplies to hone your origami skills.

Remember, Teen Time usually runs Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 pm over in our Woodruff Annex, just behind our main building. Depending on the day, we provide crafts, movies, gaming, snacks, and just a place to hang after school.

College Essay Writing Seminar @ DDL


It’s that time of year again! With college education deadlines fast approaching, the DeWitt District Library and Sylvan Learning Center have teamed up to help take the guess work out of answering those college admissions essay questions. This one hour seminar will provide you with the information and tips for crafting the perfect essay to increase your chances of admission. You’ll also have an opportunity to schedule a one-on-one consultation to review completed essays.

Monday, November 14th
6:30-7:30 pm
DeWitt District Library – Woodruff Annex
Register online or via phone at 669-3156

Volunteering – What’s in it for me?

With the summer season fast approaching you may find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.  Here is a list of reasons you should consider volunteering.

  1. teens_thumbsup
    You get to help those who need it.
    This is the obvious benefit, right? But it’s also the
    most important part. As a volunteer, you have a great opportunity to give back to your community in any area that is important to you. What passion could you pass on to others?
  2. Volunteering is great for your mental and even physical health. Not only does volunteering boost self-confidence and happiness, but it has also been found that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who don’t.
  3. Volunteering can teach you the social and networking skills that you will need as an adult. Volunteering can teach you how to network and build a list of important contacts. The people you volunteer with are also great candidates for recommendation letters for college and future jobs. These are the people who have seen how you interact with others in social situations and how you handle new challenges.
  4. Volunteering lets you see how others experience the world and opens your eyes to something new. From giving food at animal shelters to shelving books at the library, volunteering can expose you to very new experiences that you may not have known otherwise. Having new experiences can help you discover a new passion, and gives you the contacts to pursue that passion.
  5. Make your resume shine. Volunteer experience can set you apart from other applicants for job and school applications. Your volunteer experience shows that you are ambitious, that you care about your community, and that you are willing to work to affect change. These are great qualities that recruiters and admissions officers look for in a potential student or employee.

DSCF6989Volunteer Opportunities @ the Library

With as little as two extra hours per week, you could volunteer time at the DeWitt District Library.  During the summer our VolunTeens help us with a variety of tasks from handing our summer reading prizes to helping kids with craft projects.  For more information about becoming a volunteer at the library visit our VolunTeen page.

Need even more reasons to volunteer?….

  1. Opens doors to new experiences and unique opportunities

  2. Develop skills that help you to give back to your community

  3. Meet new people and make new friends

  4. Improve interpersonal skills through teamwork and networking

  5. Increased self motivation and improved academic success

  6. Opportunity to discover new skills, talents and interests

  7. An inside look at how organizations operate

  8. Critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork development

  9. Take a look at the “real” working world

  10. Networks to future opportunities

  11. Working with others to accomplish greater things

  12. Improving lives of people in the community

  13. Creating healthy, sustainable communities

college_app_weekIt is around this time every year that high school seniors really feel the pressures that come with applying for college. Most seniors are advised to have their applications completed and turned in no later than the first week of November.  So what if you haven’t even started the process?  Our recommendation, don’t stress and the Library is here to help!  Click on over to our College Prep page for a Senior Guide that includes worksheets and step-by-step instructions for everything you need to get through the college app process.  Then consider registering for our College Essay Writing Seminar which will give you the information and tips that you need for completing the perfect admissions essay.

VolunTeens Needed


VolunTeens Lauren and Jules worked our Star Wars @ the Library program on May 4th.

Each year the Library relies on a number of teen volunteers to help provide support at library programs and work on special projects.  Teen volunteers can gain experience working with children, helping to keep the library organized, providing support and guidance at events, and registering participants for our summer reading program.  Our volunTeens are a critical part of our summer programming.  Library events are often packed with families looking for fun summer activities and our volunTeens help to ensure that these programs run smoothly and everybody has a great time.  With a commitment of just 2 hours per week teens who have completed the 6th grade can build volunteer hours, gain valuable work experience and participate in family fun summer programs.  The Library is now accepting volunTeen applications of our summer volunteering session.  Click on over to our VolunTeens page for more information or to print an application today.

YA Green Light Reads


Kelly Jensen a librarian and a blogger at STACKED shared this fantastic flowchart of current YA books, suitable for all readers, with Book Riot and we thought it was so good we wanted to pass it along to you.  Kelly explains Green Light Reads as “a book that doesn’t contain a lot of swearing, gory violence, partying, or sensitive content. It’s not like any of those things are bad in YA books (they’re not, and frankly, dark, edgy YA is my favorite kind of YA), but there’s something to be said about having a ready list of books that would go over with little objection to almost any reader.” This list of books is also perfect for the tween reader starting to show interest in YA fiction.  A printable version can be found here: Download the PDF


VOTE TODAY! 2015 Thumbs Up! Award Teen Top Ten

teens_thumbsupThe Thumbs Up! Award is given annually to the author of an original work that has both literary quality and teen appeal for those 13 to 18 years of age. The award includes a statewide teen vote from a list of top ten books that were selected by a group of Michigan youth and teen librarians.

DDL Teens your challenge is to read all of these books (or as many as you want) and select the ONE that you feel is the best book. Vote for your fav by accessing the online voting ballot and make your selection. Be sure to vote by May 31, 2015.

2015 Thumbs Up! Teen Top Ten List

TTTen10TTTen2 TTTen1 TTTen3  TTTen4 TTTen5  TTTen7 TTTen6 TTTen8 TTTen9


The winning title will be announced in October during the 2015 Michigan Library Association Fall Conference so be sure to check back and see if your pick takes home the top honor.